Anyone remotely interested in web design or SEO will have been used to hearing about Google algorithm updates over the past few years, regardless of if you’re an SEO expert or a a small business owner who updates your own website, then you may have been completely unaware that Google have rolled out a huge algorithm change over the past few weeks.

Google Hummingbird ExplainedThe Google Hummingbird Update

On September the 26th, the 15th Birthday of Google, employees were a little surprised to be loaded onto a bus and transported to the garage of a house in California that was rented to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they started in business. From there, the Vice President of Search made a small presentation announcing amongst other things the Google Hummingbird Algorithm. (Hummingbirds are fast and precise)

It seems that Google flicked the switch some weeks ago with very few people knowing, Hummingbird is believed to affect 90% of searches and is the biggest algorithm change since the caffeine update of 2010.

What is the Google Hummingbird Update About?

Naturally Google have been sketchy when discussing any technical details but it has been confirmed that the update focuses on entire search queries rather than individual words.

You may be thinking that this is nothing new? Like me, you may have already recognised the benefit of long tail searches for some time, well take that concept and then add the advances that we’ve seen in technology that allows us to interact with the internet and in particular Google, and you’re some way to understanding where all this is heading.

15 years ago when Google launched we all had a keyboard, in fact that is all we had. Google have been at the cutting edge of search technology ever since making it easier to search for information. Do you remember Google Goggles? You could take a photo of something, a product or landmark perhaps, and Google would search and return information relating to it? Then came voice search, Apple have heavily developed Siri and now Google, who incidentally now own Motorola are recognising that the number of searches made from handheld devices is on the up each year.

Natural Prose Searches

If you’ve ever used Google voice search or Siri you’ll perhaps agree with me that you interact with it in much the same way as you would with another person. You actually ask full and detailed questions. This is much easier to do when talking as opposed to typing on a phone keyboard. This is what the Hummingbird update is about. It will consider your full question, not just keywords, linked to the knowledge graph it will then be able to return a set of results that will accurately answer your query.

Google want to remain the best search engine in the world, returning the most relevant search results continually will ensure that they do. I addition, expect to see Google and Motorola come out fighting pretty soon against the main rival Apple. If they are able to perfect the art of understanding human speech then imagine how useful that would be in other areas? Imagine being able to simply say to your phone “remind me to buy toothpaste” and then when your phones gps system detects that you are in a supermarket it will sound an alert and remind you. It’ll no doubt be able to guide you to the correct aisle and even give you price comparisons ( linked to Google ads no doubt to generate revenue). Google will be your very own PA.

Hummingbird SEO

Google have indicated that the signals that were always important will remain so. So what can you do to further increase your rankings in Google? At the risk of repeating myself again and again, simply continue to provide original and relevant information. That is by far and away the single most important SEO advice I can give you.

I even bore myself these days when I say this, my clients know that I’m a a big advocate of blogging. If you don’t blog already then I strongly suggest that you do, on site or off site. It’s by far the best way, if done correctly, to become an authority on your chosen subject. If you blog selflessly, to your readers and not to Google, then the benefits to you will be huge. SEO is now almost Buddhist in it’s nature. It’s about giving useful information, instructional videos, handy infographics, useful charts and so on. You can read more about learning to blog here.

Will I Be Affected By Google Hummingbird?

Given that the update was rolled out weeks ago then you would have seen any effect by now, if you’ve dropped from your previous high rankings then go and sit on the naughty step and think long and hard about what you’ve done. If you’ve gained, well done, keep doing what you do!

I offer one to one training for anyone interested in blogging and adding new content to their website. I’ve used some really great methods for sometime now for my clients that are not only great for the end user but also happen to be a marriage made in heaven for the new update. Feel free to contact me for more information.

The Golden SEO Rules Haven’t Changed

  • Be original, be thorough
  • Write for your readers, not for Google
  • There are no short cuts or tricks
  • Link building is a fools game so don’t be tempted to sign up with that guy who keeps ringing you!